Widow will sue Airbnb for £1.2m after husband, 45, died from Legionnaires’ disease

Widow will sue Airbnb for £1.2m after husband, 45, died from Legionnaires’ disease

A widow intends to sue Airbnb for £1.2 million after her husband died from an infection she claims he contracted while using the hot tub in their vacation rental.

Paul Bermingham, pictured left, with his wife Sandra, centre, and their two children, Kate, 12, and Darragh, died after contracting Legionnaires disease while on holiday in Malta during a two-week break over Christmas in 2015
Sandra Bermingham has created a crowdfunding campaign to assist pay legal bills and continue her six-year fight against the US-owned corporation for compensation.

Her husband Paul died away a few days after returning from a 2016 Christmas vacation at a home they leased on the famous website in Gozo, Malta.

The 45-year-old father of two caught Legionnaires’ illness via tainted hot tub water, it is believed.

The family booked the two-bed apartment in Gozo which featured a hot tub (not pictured)

Sandra has been fighting since 2016, but the $4 billion firm has continually refused to acknowledge responsibility for the murder of her spouse.

In 2015, Paul Bermingham, seen on the left with his wife Sandra and two daughters, Kate, 12, and Darragh, died after acquiring Legionnaires’ disease during a two-week Christmas vacation in Malta.

Sandra remarked, “They have not demonstrated any after-care or concern for those who rent properties through their website.”Sandra, left, pictured with Kate and Darragh is suing Airbnb is suing the US-based property firm for more than £1million

“All they care about is making money from bookings. Their callousness and indifference has rendered me speechless.

In 2015, construction worker Paul, his wife Sandra, and their two children, Darragh, 10, and Kate, 12, had reserved a two-week Christmas vacation.

A room on the island featured a hot tub that was primarily utilized by children.

Sandra reported that Paul rarely used the hot tub because he considered the water too cold.

The children were unaffected, but Paul became ill days after returning to their house in Islington, North London.

The family reserved the two-bedroom apartment with a hot tub in Gozo (not pictured)Mrs Bermingham has not been helped in her claim by the Maltese authorities who have refused to hand over the results of tests carried out on the contaminated water in the hot tub

Sandra, shown on the left of Kate and Darragh, is suing. Airbnb is suing the American real estate company for more than £1 million.

Sandra, shown on the right, suffered a nervous breakdown after the passing of her late spouse.

He was transported to Whittington Hospital, where he was induced into a coma. He died away 14 days after his return from Malta.

At an autopsy, the coroner determined that he died from Legionella Pneumonia.

Legionella are airborne, virulent bacteria that are typically found in contaminated water.

Sandra, pictured right, suffered a breakdown following the death of her late husband


Legionnaires’ disease is a severe pneumonia that causes inflammation of the lungs.

This disease is caused by a bacterium called Legionella.

Each year, around 500 persons in the United Kingdom and 6,100 people in the United States are affected.

The illness can result in life-threatening complications such as respiratory failure, renal failure, and septic shock, which happens when blood flow to essential organs is restricted.

Since 2016 Mrs Bermingham, 54, has been battling Airbnb for compensation for her husband's death. She is seeking £1.2m for loss of earnings which have been calculated on how much she and her husband would have earned until retirement

Most individuals become ill by breathing microscopic water droplets from infected sources, including as shower heads, hot tubs, swimming pools, and building ventilation systems.

Anyone can become infected, although the elderly, smokers, and those with compromised immune systems, such as chemotherapy patients, are particularly susceptible.

Typically, symptoms appear between two and ten days after contact to the pathogen.

Early indicators include:

Backache Muscle ache
Fever and shivering

Then, individuals may experience:

Cough that may produce blood
Chest pain
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea

As quickly as feasible, antibiotics are normally administered in a hospital setting.

Water systems must be meticulously cleaned and disinfected for prevention purposes.

People can lower their risk by abstaining from smoking, as lung damage renders persons more susceptible.

Mayo Clinic is the source.


Sandra stated, ‘On New Year’s Eve, Paul only entered the hot tub once, and he was only in the water for a few seconds. I suspect he was infected shortly after he checked into the farmhouse since the disease is airborne.

After a few days at home, he requested an ambulance to transport him to the hospital.

He was so unwell that they were forced to induce a coma, and he never recovered. The hospital did everything they could but were unable to save him. We were devastated that he could be taken away from us.

The vacation was supposed to be a getaway for the entire family, but it wrecked our family life.

The death of Sandra’s husband left her so heartbroken that she experienced a nervous breakdown.

She was unable to continue working as a makeup artist and was obliged to return to Auckland, New Zealand, to live with her brother because she had no savings.

She alleges Airbnb and their underwriters refused to take blame, despite the removal of the Gozo home from their listings following Mr. Bermingham’s death.

The San Francisco-based startup, founded in 2008, has seven million rental listings on its website and has recorded more than 150 million rentals.

Mrs. Bermingham, age 54, has been fighting Airbnb since 2016 for compensation for her husband’s death.

She is seeking £1.2 million in lost earnings based on the amount she and her husband would have earned till retirement.

However, despite the involvement of law firms on her behalf, she claims that the US home rental company and their insurers have continuously delayed her claim.

She said, “At every turn they have attempted to frustrate me and refuse to accept responsibility for my husband’s death and the upheaval it has caused in my family’s life.”

When I once attempted to meet with their attorneys, I was informed that they were all on vacation. This is a multibillion-dollar firm that claims no one was available for comment.

Mrs. Bermingham’s claim has not been assisted by the Maltese authorities, who have refused to release the findings of tests conducted on the hot tub’s tainted water.

The insurance company based in Malta has cited privacy laws for withholding the results, but the cause of death has not been contested.

Sandra stated, “When we arrived at the farmhouse, the jacuzzi had an overwhelming chlorine odor.” It was so powerful that we became ill. The owners had to bring in heaters since the interior temperature was so low.

Mrs. Bermingham, age 54, has been fighting Airbnb since 2016 for compensation for her husband’s death. She is seeking £1.2 million in lost earnings, estimated based on what she and her husband would have earned till retirement.

Mrs. Bermingham’s claim has not been assisted by the Maltese authorities, who have refused to release the findings of tests conducted on the hot tub’s tainted water.

I don’t believe the jacuzzi was properly maintained, and it had been unused for some time before to our arrival.

Peter Fenench, Mrs. Bermingham’s attorney based in Malta, stated that she must raise cash to continue the legal battle against Airbnb and bring them to court.

Sandra stated, “Airbnb did not examine this situation and never provided my family any assistance.” No compensation has been provided, and I am solely responsible for seeking justice for what transpired.

“Since I am unyielding, I require funding for judicial proceedings to battle Airbnb on Malta for compensation.

“I want the world to know how Airbnb makes billions of dollars on our backs while refusing to take responsibility when things go horribly wrong in the homes they use to do so”

Airbnb’s spokeswoman stated, ‘We were devastated to learn of this awful tragedy at the time, and our sympathies continue to be with the Bermingham family following such an unfathomable loss. Regarding this matter, we continue to communicate with the family’s representatives.

With over one billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date, isolated accidents are quite unusual.

Sandra has created a GoFundMe campaign for her family’s legal expenses.



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